Special Coverage

Converting from Hydraulic Cylinders to Electric Actuators
Automating Optimization and Design Tasks Across Disciplines
Vibration Tables Shake Up Aerospace and Car Testing
Supercomputer Cooling System Uses Refrigerant to Replace Water
Computer Chips Calculate and Store in an Integrated Unit
Electron-to-Photon Communication for Quantum Computing
Mechanoresponsive Healing Polymers
Variable Permeability Magnetometer Systems and Methods for Aerospace Applications
Evaluation Standard for Robotic Research

PicoEndo Tethered Endoscope

Stevrin & Partners

The PicoEndo endoscope is the smallest tethered endoscope in the world (4.5mm × 12.0mm). It is also inexpensive enough to use and discard. The PicoEndo system is applicable to medical tasks such as photographing the surface of the esophagus, and to applications in any industry that needs to place a tiny electronic camera eye in a location that is difficult to view. It can be adapted to optical biopsy by changing its lighting mix. Because of its tether, which also acts as an electronic connection and steering cable, the body does not have to contain batteries, memory, or processing electronics.

Posted in: Techs for License
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Flat-Plate Lens Achieves Negative Refraction at 100-nm Resolution

AIST Innovations

Experiments with holograms have led to a thin-film flat-plate lens that has a periodic (layered) structure and that is capable of a resolution of 100 nm or finer. The flat lens provides excellent image-forming characteristics by the incidence of light having a wavelength slightly shorter than the wavelength corresponding to the frequency period of the thin film. The structure can exhibit a negative refractive index at high angles of incidence. This lens technology exhibits uniform performance in image formation all over the lens surface. The thin film of the periodic structure is formed by alternate laminations (and pluralities of laminations) of two materials having different refractive indices.

Posted in: Techs for License
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Technology for Drilling/Cutting/Separating Materials

A company seeks alternative methods for sawing, drilling, boring, cutting, or otherwise separating materials such as wood, metal, and composites. When compared to conventional sawing, drilling, boring, or other cutting methods, the new method should be faster and easier; provide a cleaner cut in terms of smooth wall or bore and in chips, dust, or contamination of the work area; offer a longer tool life; minimize noise level; require low physical force during operation; be safe for use in an open environment; and reduce dependence on traditional power tools used in the workplace.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs
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Near-Field UHF RFID Systems

A company seeks a near-field ultra-high-frequency (UHF) RFID system solution that can communicate in near-field while keeping the field region localized so that far-field talks can be suppressed. A new near-field UHF RFID reader antenna is sought that has strong magnetic near-field, but small far-field gain and beam width. The antenna size should be as small as possible. A second option would be a UHF solution with assisting devices that could guarantee a localized read field. The tags in the interesting field could be read reliably without field nulls. The cross-reading for the tags outside the interesting field could be avoided.

Posted in: NASA Tech Needs
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Electrical Capacitance Volume Tomography With High-Contrast Dielectrics

This nondestructive evaluation tool finds fluid levels in nonconducting composite materials.

The Electrical Capacitance Volume Tomography (ECVT) system has been designed to complement the tools created to sense the presence of water in nonconductive spacecraft materials, by helping to not only find the approximate location of moisture but also its quantity and depth.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Measurements, Sensors and actuators, Water, Conductivity, Spacecraft
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Stereoscopic Machine-Vision System Using Projected Circles

This system identifies obstacles in relatively short processing times.

A machine-vision system capable of detecting obstacles large enough to damage or trap a robotic vehicle is undergoing development. The system includes (1) a pattern generator that projects concentric circles of laser light forward onto the terrain, (2) a stereoscopic pair of cameras that are aimed forward to acquire images of the circles, (3) a frame grabber and digitizer for acquiring image data from the cameras, and (4) a single-board computer that processes the data. The system is being developed as a prototype of machine-vision systems to enable robotic vehicles (“rovers”) on remote planets to avoid craters, large rocks, and other terrain features that could capture or damage the vehicles. Potential terrestrial applications of systems like this one could include terrain mapping, collision avoidance, navigation of robotic vehicles, mining, and robotic rescue.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Physical Sciences, Exterior lighting, Artificial intelligence, Computer software and hardware, Optics, Robotics, Collision avoidance systems
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Wavefront Control and Image Restoration With Less Computing

There are numerous potential applications in scientific, medical, and military imaging.

PseudoDiversity is a method of recovering the wavefront in a sparse- or segmented-aperture optical system typified by an interferometer or a telescope equipped with an adaptive primary mirror consisting of controllably slightly moveable segments. (PseudoDiversity should not be confused with a radio-antenna-arraying method called “pseudo-diversity”.) As in the cases of other wave-front-recovery methods, the streams of wavefront data generated by means of PseudoDiversity are used as feedback signals for controlling electromechanical actuators of the various segments so as to correct wavefront errors and thereby, for example, obtain a clearer, steadier image of a distant object in the presence of atmospheric turbulence. There are numerous potential applications in astronomy, remote sensing from aircraft and spacecraft, targeting missiles, sighting military targets, and medical imaging (including microscopy) through such intervening media as cells or water. In comparison with prior wavefront-recovery methods used in adaptive optics, PseudoDiversity involves considerably simpler equipment and procedures and less computation.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Calibration, Imaging and visualization, Waveguides
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Choosing the Right Touchscreen Display Technology for Your Control/Automation Process

From industrial panel PCs, to open-platform graphic operator interface terminals (OITs), to microOITs, to human-machine interfaces (HMIs), there are many choices of interactive display technologies for manufacturing and process control. It can be a challenge to decipher the right product for the right application — even for the more technically minded individual, let alone the business owner who simply wants his process automated. The best way to get a handle on these products is to categorize them and then describe each group.

Posted in: Articles, Automation, Human machine interface (HMI), Displays, Automation, Manufacturing equipment and machinery, Production
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Imaging System Enables Early Detection of Diabetic Retinopathy

People whose bodies cannot produce effective or sufficient insulin are said to have diabetes. This chronic disease has several serious long-term effects that are well documented: kidney failure, heart disease, foot disease that may require amputation, neuropathy (sensory loss), and blindness. Vision loss caused by diabetes is known as diabetic retinopathy. Retinopathy is define as non-inflammatory disorders in the retina. In diabetics, this condition manifests itself in the form of lesions, tears, or scratches on the retina. In the last few years, Montreal ophthalmologist Dr. Michael Flanders has noticed an increase in the number of patients with this condition. “There are more patients than before who are coming through my office and hospital clinics who have diabetic retinopathy,” he said.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Imaging, Imaging and visualization, Diagnosis, Diseases, Medical equipment and supplies
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Wide-Field-of-View, High-Resolution, Stereoscopic Imager

A device combines video feeds from multiple cameras to provide wide-field-of-view, high-resolution, stereoscopic video to the user. The prototype under development consists of two camera assemblies, one for each eye. One of these assemblies incorporates a mounting structure with multiple cameras attached at offset angles. The video signals from the cameras are fed to a central processing platform where each frame is color processed and mapped into a single contiguous wide-field-of-view image.

Posted in: Briefs, Physical Sciences, Imaging and visualization, Head-up displays, Mountings
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